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Good morning! Missing the Olympics already? Can’t wait for the NBA season to start? Don’t worry — today’s cocktail will perk you up. Meet the Filipino teenager who could be the next Giannis Antetokounmpo-like foreign-born superstar of American basketball, understand why Bob Marley’s homeland is finally embracing his ganja legacy, drink water trapped from the air, and celebrate apricot season with some stuffed Turkish treats.
Liam Jamieson, Reporter, and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
The Pentagon plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all members of the U.S. military, the latest such step as the Biden administration tries to combat rising infections from the Delta variant of the virus. Meanwhile, China is canceling a series of high-profile events as it battles a surge in cases. Should large-audience events in the U.S. be barred too? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NPR, WSJ, SCMP)
2. A New Worry
But COVID-19 isn’t the only scourge worrying the public health community. Five years after fighting off history’s worst Ebola epidemic, Guinea has recorded West Africa’s first death from the Marburg virus, a similar highly contagious infection. The hemorrhagic fever has previously focused its destruction on southern and eastern Africa. (Sources: Guardian, Reuters)
3. $3.5T Bill for Change
You can’t bring change with loose change. Senate Democrats released a $3.5 trillion budget that proposes tax increases on wealthy Americans, large inheritances and big companies to bankroll revamping America’s social net with fresh investments in health, child and elder care, climate protection and poverty reduction. Meanwhile, the $1 trillion infrastructure plan appears poised to pass in the Senate, a rare bipartisan win. (NYT, Bloomberg, FT)
4. Deadly Threat
A masked man claiming to represent Mexico’s most notorious organized crime cartel, Jalisco New Generation, has threatened to kill a television journalist who he said was biased in her coverage and supported self-defense groups that the drug syndicate frequently clashes with. Mexico is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists. (Sources: BBC, NBC)
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An unrelenting Giannis Antetokounmpo ensured that the Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA title in 50 years last month. Meet the next foreign-born stars who could become the biggest names in basketball.
In the Philippines, where the average man stands at just over 5-foot-4, the 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto quite literally stands out. The 19-year-old center currently plays for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League and is a top prospect for the 2022 NBA Draft. Could he become the first full-blooded Filipino player that the basketball-obsessed nation sends to the big leagues? Read more on OZY.
Just 22, the point/shooting guard’s most recent NBA season for the Dallas Mavericks has basketball fans pegging him as one of the next greats in the sport’s history. Dončić led Slovenia in the Olympics — including in a win against Hachimura’s Japan, where he scored 25 points while notching 7 rebounds and 7 assists. With an ability to make impossible shots and an unparalleled confidence against the world’s best, the Mavs have reportedly decided that another five years of “Luka magic” are worth $207 million.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Alright, alright, alright — get ready for a special episode with proud Texan and Oscar-winning Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey. The Dazed and Confused actor reveals he is certainly not confused about a future in politics and shares insight into his process of writing his new book, Greenlights. Hear him gush about wife Camila Alves and the family they have built together. Watch now.
Cannabis Cash Capitals
The West’s hunger for marijuana is booming. These unlikely nations want to cash in on ganjanomics.
Tobacco is responsible for 60 percent of this landlocked East African nation’s exports. But withcigarette consumption in decline, the value of Malawi’s cash crop has halved over a decade. So the country is encouraging farmers to grow cannabis for the global market. Last year, it legalized medicinal and industrial use and more recently,opened up the sector to investments and has already issued 35 farming licenses. And such enterprise is inspiring a growing number of African nations — Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, and Ghana — to cultivate weed production. If they do, Fortune reports, Africa could have a $7.1 billion cannabis industry by 2025.
For years, Thailand treated pot on par with more extreme drugs like meth and heroin, with trafficking carrying the death penalty. But the country has spotted an opportunity to both fix its overcrowded prisons — drug crimes have incarcerated 70% of inmates — and make money from cannabis. In 2018, it legalized medical marijuana and has since drawn theattention of global investors. Industry analysis suggests Thailand could have a$661 million marijuana industry by 2024.Read more on OZY.
Bob Marley sang Ganja Gun, but until 2015 even medical marijuana was forbidden in his home nation. Now Jamaica is bringing a law that would allow its growing cannabis industry to export their products around the world. Jamaica’s big sell? The cost of production is a fourth of Canada’s, allowing the country to export cheaper cannabis than its rivals.
Water, Water, Everywhere … Plenty of Drops to Drink
As the world stares at a water crisis, scientists are devising innovative strategies to purify non-potable water.
German soldier-turned inventor Martin Drewes’ plan to create a water wheel-powered electric generator for communities struck by disaster failed, only generating enough power to charge a smartphone. But through his tribulations he found that his device could do something just as important: make unclean water drinkable. From Germany to Kenya, Drewes’ purifying creation helps quench the world’s thirst. Read more on OZY.
2. Israel Desalination
In the arid Middle East, access to water is a constant worry, but Israel has become a champion of water tech. Its key strategy? Desalination: The country’s first plant opened in 2005, and now up to 80% of the country’s domestic water comes from one of their several salt-removing facilities, with plans to build even more. As climate change increases the frequency and severity of droughts, can Israel’s desalination efforts set a precedent for the rest of the world? Or will environmental concerns stand in the way?
3. Fog Catching
Without clouds, there is no rain, and without rain, there is no water. But what can water-scarce places, from Peru to California, do when the clouds in the sky aren’t letting out their life-giving liquid? The answer is fog catching. Erecting large mesh nets atop hills to capture mist may sound absurd, but don’t speak too soon. Each net can capture 200 to 400 liters of water per day.
Apricot Binge Menu
It’s the season for apricots, and if you’re fond of them, these stunners are perfect for you.
The world’s largest apricot producer has an accompanying signature treat: stuffed apricots. Dried apricots are candied with a lemon syrup, then filled with a rich cream — try kaymak, a Central Asian and Middle Eastern cream made from water buffalo milk — and topped with pistachios. Bite-sized divinity!
2. Lithuanian Torte
Omaha, Nebraska might not be the first place that jumps to mind when thinking of authenticglobal food in America, but the city’s Lithuanian Bakery’s apricot-laced Napoleon Torte is brilliant … and true to the recipes of the old country. It’s a light, flaky delight with eight wafer layers and buttercream that takes three days to make.
3. Valencia Cocktail
This fruity cocktail blends apricot brandy and orange juice, making the mimosa-like beverage a perfect brunch refreshment. ¡Salud!